The US troop surge in 2007 helped quiet Iraq's bloody civil war. But it failed to deliver on what US officials and officers said was crucial for Iraq's future at the time: sectarian reconciliation. Rather than forging a new national identity out of the horrors of Iraq's war, Iraq's Shiite and Sunni Arabs and ethnic Kurds sullenly retreated to their own sectarian corners, and the country's political parties remain vehicles for ethnic or sectarian interests. The next year is probably going to be the most crucial for determining the future of Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003, as Iraq's various political factions compete for power and influence without foreign troops getting in the way. Here are a few of the major players.
President Bashar al-Assad's government has reportedly agreed to a plan to end the Syrian uprising. Leaked details include the release of all political prisoners, a new constitution, and free elections.
The Bahraini regime has bulldozed dozens of Shiite mosques or other religious structures in the crackdown on a mainly Shiite opposition movement.
Mubarak is under questioning and he and his two sons are being transferred to a Cairo prison. Egypt's military rulers appear to be responding to escalating public pressure to see the former president behind bars.
More than 1,000 pro-democracy protesters continued to occupy Cairo's Tahrir Square Sunday, one day after the Army – until now seen the guardian of the revolution – appeared to have fired live rounds into crowds, killing at least one protester.
Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi assaulted the rebel capital of Benghazi this morning, breaking a promised cease-fire and ignoring a warning of action from the United Nations and President Obama.